34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever


February 21, 2016 by Nathaniel Tower

I am now 34 years old. To date, I have zero bestsellers to my name. Clearly it’s time to give up writing forever. I mean, what’s the point of dragging it out for another three or four decades before I meet my untimely demise?

If you’re thinking whether or not you should do the same, here are 34 reasons you most definitely should never write another thing as long as you live.

1. You’re over 25 years old and have never written a bestseller (other than the time your self-published novel hit #99 in a sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub category at 2:47 AM on Amazon).

2. You are X years old and you know that so-and-so author had Y number of books written by that age. Naturally, you have fewer than Y number of books.

3. An online lit mag with 12 monthly readers rejected the best story you’ve ever written.

4. Only 10% of your friends bothered to “like” your last Facebook status about your new publication.

5. You haven’t had anything published or accepted in the past week.

6. You recall some English professor telling you that you wouldn’t make it as a writer.

7. Your mom promised she was going to buy copies of your book for all her church group friends, but you don’t see any reviews from any of them on Amazon.

8. A Goodreads user named Bloodynazibung69 gave your book a 1-star review.

9. There were more empty chairs than full ones at your last reading.

10. A casual Facebook friend you haven’t seen in seven years turned down a free signed copy of your book and said, “A PDF copy would be fine.”

11. Your high school didn’t list your latest publication in the class notes section of the last alumni newsletter.

12. You didn’t write at least 1,000 words before breakfast this morning.

13. You wrote 1,000 words before breakfast this morning, but at least 997 of them sucked.

14. 3 people unfriended you after you spammed 712 of your friends with a personal message about your upcoming publication.

15. Someone on Twitter said something that wasn’t 100% encouraging about your writing.

16. No one said anything about you on Twitter.

17. Your computer spontaneously shut off the other day when you were in the middle of the fifteenth chapter of your latest masterpiece, and you’re pretty sure the autosaved version was missing at least half a page, which just so happened to be the best half page you’ve ever written.

18. Your last submission was rejected because you didn’t follow the guidelines.

19. The New Yorker still hasn’t responded to that query about your awesome series of hilarious politically charged sestinas.

20. You didn’t get any Pushcart nominations during the past year. Not even one from a lit mag that only published 7 stories during the whole year.

21. You had more “likes” on your status update about how you pooped twice on Monday than you did on the seventh post you made about that new poem you have up at the No One Cares Review.

22. A Facebook friend you don’t really like had more publications than you last year.

23. You didn’t like any of the stories published in the last issue of the magazine that rejected your story.

24. Your self-published book was rejected by Amazon for being plagiarized.

25. A lit mag a friend of yours used to read for three years ago rejected your story even though you mentioned that friend by name in your cover letter.

26. One of the contributor copies of your last book had a small tear in the cover.

27. You know for a fact that your last submission was rejected because of the preconceived notions the editor had about you based on your name.

28. You weren’t invited to do anything cool at AWP even though you bought your plane tickets 17 months in advance and posted 47 times on Facebook about how you were going to AWP an it was going to rock.

29. You bought more books than you sold last year.

30. The writer friend you asked to edit your novel said she couldn’t relate to the misogynistic main character.

31. You ran out of manila envelopes and can’t query the seven remaining agents who don’t take electronic submissions.

32. Your last query was rejected because your Pride and Prejudice spin-off, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Minions, seemed a bit too unoriginal, not to mention a massive lawsuit waiting to happen.

33. The dinosaur erotica book you self-published didn’t even make the top ten on Amazon for Erotica > Dinosaur Erotica > Winged Dinosaur Erotica > Winged Dinosaur Erotica Cretaceous Period > Pterodactyl Porn.

34. You consulted a list you saw on a rather unsuccessful writing blog to determine whether or not you should still be a writer.



163 thoughts on “34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever

  1. ordinarylass says:

    This really made me laugh! Especially no.34!

  2. damiencage says:

    I’m gonna be truly happy if I keep writing. If I quit and am forced to just work for another man’s money, I’ll never be happy.

  3. Many of us have learned the secret long ago: When it’s time to stop writing, you’ll know. And if you want to stop writing, you don’t need a reason. The trick is not to allow yourself to be mired in the past when you have the opportunity to move on to other wonderful things in life.

  4. sandra says:

    What an insightful, thought-provoking and hilarious list. I am too serious about what people think about my work as a writer. I look at the mirror and love me, I search inside of my thoughts and love what I think, I search my emotions and love how I feel. Why do I seek acceptance as a writer? Our success should be measured by our commitment to continue to write.Your list reflects the challenge of every writer. I commend you. I will keep writing because I know I am a writer regardless of the reality of the 34 items on your lists. Thank you for providing a serious and light-hearted magnifier to the world of the writer.

  5. rushmee says:

    LOL !!! This really cracked me up!! Loved it.

  6. A little discouraging given none of my pieces of writing have ever been published and at 23 years old my goal is to have a book published at 25! So I’m on the losing end of this battle but the reality that every writer struggles with this is why I won’t give up even if I’m 34 and have 34 good reasons to give up writing is the only thing I love!

  7. alyssasmom15 says:

    You’re so silly. What’s your book called? I’ll read it. Maybe even blog about it too. 🙂

  8. […] Source: 34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever […]

  9. You should make this post in to a book. It’s really funny. :o)

  10. Let me get back to you with: 46 Reasons to Start Writing Now!!

  11. adi5387 says:

    writing just helps unfold oneself… how can one do that…. its not easy to just stop

  12. I’m in college and already feel as though I should of at least finished and publish my book before graduating just in case I get lucky. But thanks to your list, I need to finish my damn book.

  13. love this. this highlights the internal monologue of the failed writer very accurately. You forgot the part where we are ‘compelled’ to write without food, water or encouragement. like some sort of Zen meditation.

  14. jiisand says:

    Nobody pays me for breathing, sneezing or farting but I have perfected skills in all these to great satisfaction. Getting an appreciative audience for this requires auditioning for TV or some other public venue. There seem to be scads of people better at this than me so I write on occasion. Making money is a whole different menu. I’ve never been good at that so I have given up trying. So I practice sleeping and hiccuping and keep an eye on the Olympics.

  15. […] Source: 34 Reasons to Stop Writing Forever […]

  16. Now I am really depressed. On #4, the percentage was actually less. Sheesh. #13 & #29 are the story of my life. So much for finally being able to claim the title of published author, eh? Hopefully that dish washer position I am applying for is still open. (Unfortunately I am not kidding) Peace out

  17. Love the 34 reason! I’d read your book.

  18. 805smiles says:

    Keep it positive! You can do it

  19. Now I realize how hard it is to be a successful writer.

  20. rdavidfallas says:

    There is a lot of sense in what you wrote in this article, maybe you should look a the situation of today’s world where anything is not interesting enogh until its fogotten an then someone brings it back in the form of something new… Think about the famous painters of history, most of them become famous after dying or due certain situation they reached some fame…

  21. I only needed one. Thanks

  22. This was so funny. I can relate to some of them. We should keep writing though. Even Harry Potter got rejected a lot of times, but J.K Rowling didn’t give up. And look at her now, she is so rich and famous and respected. She has written bestselling books, too. Maybe you should do a post to encourage people.

  23. bfostrickson says:

    Reblogged this on Quoth The Wordsmith and commented:
    I have decided to start reblogging more, because there is a lot of beautiful content out there that deserves to be shared.

    So today, I chose this; a sarcastically smart, and wonderfully witty take on the many of the thoughts that can run through a writer’s head on a daily basis.

    Don’t take it too seriously, just sit back and enjoy a laugh while you sip your Friday morning tea.

    What would you add to the list? What was your favorite one?

  24. Paul Lamb says:

    I hope the title of this post isn’t meant to be taken literally and that you will have more posts in the future.

  25. cocainecows says:

    35. Dying a virgin

  26. GHO says:

    Keep writing! As long as you enjoy it!

  27. Paul Lamb says:

    I do miss your posts. Just sayin’

  28. Mr. Sawatsky says:

    You saved the most important for last I see. Great post, probably the most entertaining read on here that I’ve read

  29. Good to know I’m not the only one who is feeling these sentiments. Thanks for sharing.

  30. writercrose says:

    Hmm, I’m going to keep writing anyway! Thanks for the fun read. Failing the 1000 words before breakfast question only inspired me to put more effort in.

  31. Hilarious! We all feel like this sometimes. I agree with the previous people that said to put this in a book!

  32. davefrantony says:

    Brilliant! Never stop writing….never stop creating. I find that each story I write and every blog I post, brings out my inner person for the rest of the world to see. This is what makes us tangible, different and exciting!

  33. Hilarious. And makes me feel less bad for taking years to write a book and not being anywhere near done.

  34. Ja says:

    So you thought that writing is just about for selling your works and have others read your work?

    You should write cos you wanna write; one or one million reader won’t make any difference.

    I don’t think you should call yourself a ‘writer’ then.

  35. This is a funny list, I would say that most of them apply to me but I’m still going to carry on writing because I enjoy it. 😂

  36. Jen Chan says:

    Oh my days this made my day! It’s only inspired me to persist as a budding, fameless writer, so thanks!

  37. when do you ever get time to read all of your comments

  38. newchemblog says:

    Number 33 was my favourite. I’m frustrated though because this is sarcasm intended to pep us up when we’re feeling down. I’m looking for the blog that says, do you meet these criteria? You need to stop writing and here’s how.

  39. darlacom says:

    Enjoyed this, especially 3, 21, 32, 34.

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